Like an unstylish shoe being shuffled off into that dread night whence no obsolescence returns, that haunting, audible icon of mystery and danger, the fog signal, is to be silenced. At least in Irish coastal waters.
As a final insult to a fine tradition most will be struck dumb from a control room in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, at the touch of a computer mouse, itself a symbol of the very technology that has NRB’d these workhorses of maritime safety.
True, a couple or three, at Fastneck, Old Head and Dundalk, will continue for a while, like the last of an endangered species wailing for a mate who can no longer hear. But the executioner’s boat will one day come to silence them.
Flanders and Swann, where are you now that a sad farewell begs to be sung?
Here is the death notice from the Commissioners of Irish Lights: